COMMENTARY | The Ohio State Buckeyes proved their doubters correct when they lost to Michigan State 34-24 on Saturday, December 8. The Buckeyes dropped their first game since falling to the Florida Gators in the 2011-2012 Gator Bowl.
Here are five things we learned from the Buckeyes’ defeat:
Ohio State isn’t good enough to compete for the national title
It was never a question of talent when it came to the 2013 Ohio State Buckeyes; their overall roster is loaded with skill players. Instead, it was a question of flaws at certain positions. Ohio State fielded a team with plenty of speed and skill, but the roster was unbalanced, especially on defense. There were significant holes at outside linebacker and in the secondary that couldn’t be masked by a dominant offense and defensive line.
This is where the NCAA’s sanctions hurt the Buckeyes. They didn’t have the depth to pull through against an excellent Michigan State team. The Buckeyes used to always have someone waiting in the wings to step up, but that’s not the case right now. Teams like Alabama and Florida State have rosters that are filled with talent at every position. Ohio State isn’t quite there yet.
Michigan State won using a familiar strategy
There was some sentiment that former Buckeyes head coach Jim Tressel’s style wouldn’t hold up long-term against some of the newer offenses out there, including the system currently in place at Ohio State. Michigan State proved that sentiment wrong.
The Spartans won this game using a strategy remarkably similar to what Tressel often employed during his glory days. Michigan State played the field-position battle, maintained a strong defense and wore down Ohio State as the game entered the fourth quarter. Sound familiar? It should because that’s exactly what Tressel did at Ohio State. There’s a reason why the Buckeyes rarely lost close games in the Big Ten. Defense and special teams wins championships. Spartans head coach Mark Dantonio proved that again on Saturday night.